Chrysler Portal Concept Could Potentially Enter Production Within Two Years
Late last month, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced that it would deliver 500 additional Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans to Waymo, the self-driving car project started by Google. Such a move is a big step forward for the automaker’s autonomous efforts, an area where it had previously been lacking.
However, top executives at FCA feel that the partnership with Waymo isn’t enough for Chrysler to catch up in the self-driving vehicle race. That is why they have just announced that the Chrysler Portal Concept could potentially enter production within the next two years.
Learn About Chrysler’s Portal Concept: The Chrysler Portal Concept: Redefining Mobility
First unveiled at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in January, the Chrysler Portal Concept is an all-electric minivan which represents Chrysler’s vision of future autonomous driving and efficient technologies. This includes a driving range of up to 250 miles in one charge.
The concept is supposedly designed “by Millennials, for Millennials.” This decision came about because of how rapidly the Millennial demographic of drivers is growing.
“Millennials have become the largest demographic. In the next 10-plus years, most will be at a point in their life where they will begin to start or will have started a family; 75% of all children will have a millennial parent, and there will be four million more children than today,” a press release from FCA stated.
As such, Chrysler has designed the Portal with features it believes will appeal to this demographic. This includes a Wi-Fi hotspot and 10 docking stations for mobile devices, even though it appears to only seat up to six passengers.
Furthermore, the interior is designed to be what Chrysler calls a “third space,” a comfortable environment outside of work and home. The chairs in the interior are placed on a track, allowing them to be moved and removed easily, while the doors fold out in opposite directions for easier access to the cabin.
Of course, the Portal wouldn’t be Chrysler’s effort to achieve autonomous driving without any self-driving technologies. The Portal is set to come with a suite of three semi-autonomous driving modes, with an upgrade to Level Four autonomous driving if desired.
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During a conference call late last month with Wall Street analysts, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne suggested that the Chrysler Portal could enter production in the span of two years. Marchionne allegedly wants the Portal out on the market sooner rather than later, as he feels that focusing solely on a partnership with Waymo will not be enough for the Chrysler brand to grow.
“I think banking all of our solutions on one possible outcome is going to be disastrous,” Marchionne told the analysts.
The Portal would fill in empty space within the Chrysler lineup, which is only made up of two vehicles currently. However, in a market where minivan sales are on a steep decline, it is unclear whether Millennials will be drawn to Chrysler’s vehicle designed specifically with them in mind.
News Source: Detroit Free Press